Tigers return some experience, talent
Harrison Bernhard knows what it’s like to stand on the medal stand at the District 11 tournament. He also knows what it’s like to come up short.
The Tiger senior placed fourth at districts two years ago, but last year he came up short in a highly competitive 138-pound weight class, going 2-2 at districts.
“It was kind of a wake-up call that I have to put in more work if I want to do better this year,” Bernhard said. “I have to not use it as an excuse that there were good kids in my weight. I should have done better.”
This season, Bernhard looks to return to the district medal stand and go a step further than he has before. He put on 20 pounds of muscle in the offseason and will start the season at 160 for Northwestern.
“Harrison Bernhard, his weight class at districts last year was stacked,” said Northwestern head coach Jim Moll. “He had to beat two kids he wasn’t supposed to beat. I expect him to have a good year this year.
“He put on some weight. He lifted hard and worked out all offseason.”
Bernhard leads a team that graduated just three members of last year’s lineup, including regional qualifier Will Dellicker.
The Tigers return one district medalist in senior Jake Dellicker, who went 19-17 last season and placed second in the District 11 Class 2A at 113 pounds.
Sophomores Eli Dellicker and Mason Brensinger will move up from their 106- and 120-pound spots in last year’s lineup.
One of Northwestern’s strengths in the middle of the lineup this year will be Ben Griffith, a junior who went 13-15 last season and finished sixth at districts.
“Ben Griffith did a ton of wrestling in the offseason,” said Moll. “He worked out here [at Northwestern]. He went to tournaments. He worked out at the Lion’s Den with Ben Clymer. He put a lot of time in during the offseason. I expect a lot out of him too.”
Also in the middle of the line are freshman Lucas Miller (152/160) and senior Ronaldo Ronceros (132).
The Tigers have three other seniors who will be in the lineup in Ryan Haverkamp (17-13 at 170 last season), Tyler Watson (20-10 at 182 last season) and Jacob Serulneck. They will all be in the upper weights, along with junior Isaiah Jorhi, who went 2-11 last season but is much-improved heading into this season.
“He put in a lot of work, got a lot stronger and has better body control this year,” said Moll. “I expect him to do much better this year.”
Northwestern went 5-3 in Colonial League matches last year, but a 41-32 loss to Catasauqua in its final match kept them out of the league’s team tournament. They bounced back from that by taking fourth place at district duals as the tournament’s 10th seed.
“That was tough,” said Moll. “But we put a good run in at district duals. I was happy with the way our season ended.”
While the top teams in the league’s East Division (Saucon Valley, Notre Dame, Wilson) might be tough to beat this year, the Tigers have their eye on the East Division title and a trip to the league team tournament.
“In our division in the Colonial League, I think we can compete against Northern Lehigh, Palmerton and Catty,” said Moll.